Teacher Labs: Making Professional Development Collaborative

Teacher Labs: Making Professional Development Collaborative

November 30, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


>>Teacher: But then it’s
also saves more naps. [ laughter ]>>Mark: If we’re learning at our
highest potential as teachers, it’s only going to serve our students. When we learn, they learn. We’re a community of learners.>>Pauline: Because we do teacher lab, we
are constantly being driven by a desire to grow together, to collaborate, to
communicate, and to be self-reflective.>>Amy: They’re actually
teaching me things sometimes. Let’s me know you’re really engaged.>>Valerie: I want you to call me over. I’ll take a look at your work.>>Mark: When teachers enhance their
craft and improve their skills, then students will improve their level
of learning and academic achievement. So teacher labs are a way we formally
get teachers together to collaborate.>>Thank you all for being here.>>Teachers come together,
cross discipline. It’s about a three hour
session around one focus area.>>This morning, we’re focusing on student engagement,
specifically student talk.>>Pauline: These kids
have got to be engaged in meaningful discourse with each other.>>Mark: It’s facilitated by
our instructional specialist. She walks them through a
protocol that’s very defined, with the ultimate purpose
of teacher growth.>>Pauline: Somebody volunteers
to be a host teacher.>>Valerie: Let’s think
about how we get there.>>Pauline: Valerie’s an
eighth grade math teacher, and she wants to get some feedback to improve how students
communicate when problem solving.>>Valerie: My biggest goal
for the year is trying to get that collaborative work, that
collaborative problem solving–>>We start off by identifying what
student engagement looks like, both from the student side
and from the teacher side.>>Mark: Hopefully, we hear kids
asking each other questions.>>Teacher: That asking for help, without having negative
feelings towards themselves or that they think their
peers are looking at them differently,
because they didn’t know.>>Pauline: After the discussion,
the host teacher speaks to the group about what the lesson
is going to be about.>>Valerie: So I’ve given you
handouts that the kids will get.>>I talked about the
goals of the lesson, what I wanted teachers
to look for and observe.>>Focus in on how they interact
with the task, how engaged they are. Hopefully they’ll be able to justify
why the correct ways are correct.>>Amy: By setting the stage,
it kind of gets us thinking. Teacher lab is not just for the host. It is really for every
teacher that attends.>>Valerie: Estimates for
the population of Brazil.>>Pauline: We go to the
host teacher’s room. They teach the lesson, and as
observers, we will be making notes.>>Valerie: Today, we’re going
to look at population change. I want to start off with a video.>>We talked about population growth. It’s intriguing to students
and something that has some real implications.>>How could governments estimate
year to year population changes, without making a complete census?>>It led into the math very nicely.>>Student: One nine eight
point seven eight.>>Amy: I was looking for key words like, “Let me show you,” or
“How can I help you?” or “Can you explain this better?”>>Student: What do you add? What do you add? Oh, you rounded out to
two point oh seven.>>Student: Yeah.>>Valerie: After the teachers
observe the lesson, we come back and Pauline facilitates
in the post discussion, asking the host teacher
to just quietly listen.>>Pauline: The process is,
we all go around and share with Valerie what we noticed.>>It’s very celebratory. The first thing that teachers
report back on are the wonderful, amazing things that they saw.>>Teacher: I noticed a lot of math
vocabulary when I heard them speaking.>>Amy: There were mistakes,
but they talked about them, and I don’t think they ever
said, “You were wrong.”>>Pauline: So let’s move
on to questions.>>Then they ask wonderings.>>Mark: I wondered, how do we get
kids to that level to say, “Oh, Eli, we haven’t heard from
you in a little bit. What are you thinking?”>>Amy: The red light strategy, I
was just curious what that was.>>Pauline: The host teacher
makes notes on all the questions that everybody had, and
then they can respond.>>Valerie: We have a
lot of great questions. The red light strategy is a strategy
I got from a training over the summer.>>Pauline: Everybody walks
away with some new knowledge, some new gained perspective.>>He made a student engagement
teacher lab page. Just identify a strategy or an
action that you want to take back to your classroom and employ.>>Valerie: My big takeaway was that
students need support learning how to justify their answers,
explain their solutions.>>Student: It doesn’t
show you how it works.>>Valerie: And they need
some examples for that.>>Read the solution. Think about if you have any
questions before you get started.>>Pauline: We’re really asking teachers
to step outside of their comfort zone. We are creatures that
live behind closed doors.>>Valerie: Record those estimates.>>Pauline: Normally, nobody
ever comes in and sees it.>>Student: What did you get
for the change of birth?>>Pauline: To experience being in somebody else’s classroom,
it’s really powerful.>>What I love about teacher labs
is, we’ve all got something from it.>>I think that speaks volumes
to the work that you do in your classrooms, so
thank you so much.